No Parking or Standing Anytime? Not Exactly


“Dear PoPville,

There is a car parked down the street from me and maybe I’m crazy, but it looks like it is clearly illegally parked. But it hasn’t been ticketed for days. So I call 311, because I’m that kind of jerk, and explain the situation. The woman on the phone was extremely helpful and took all the info and said parking enforcement would be out tonight. A few hours later she calls me back to say the parking enforcement officer said that since the car had a Zone 3 sticker it was ok to park there, even though the signs clearly state Zone 3 parking on one side, and no standing or parking on the other. I’ve never heard of this. I’ve wasted time looking for spots all these years when I could have parked illegally?

This is the response I got my my councilmember:

“I am following up with a response from DPW Parking regarding the vehicle in question (Grey BMW w/ DC Tags) being parked in the 3500 blk Alton Pl. N.W. The vehicle is displaying a VALID residential parking permit that expires April 26, 2016. The vehicle can’t be ticketed due to the guidelines of the “Moratorium” (In effect 24hrs. a day)…………..Vehicles displaying valid residential parking permits are allowed to park in “No Standing Anytime, No Parking Anytime, 25ft or more from the intersection. So yes the space is legal as long as the registration parking permit is valid and properly displayed.”

110 Comment

  • You called 311 on a car with DC plates that had a zone sticker for that zone (aka a neighbor of yours). There is a special place in hell for people like you.

  • What? What is this “Moratorium”? Who is your councilmember, so I can call them in to back me up when I get a ticket?

  • I’m not sure which is more amazing… that someone from 311 called you back, or that this situation makes no sense.

    If the sign says NO STANDING or PARKING, it’s generally to avoid a blind corner on a turn, ect. It shouldn’t matter if you are a RPP sticker or not…. o.O

    • It’s also pretty amazing that Mary Cheh or someone from her office actually got back to them at all.

  • First of all, Popville, please don’t remove my post for my initial namecalling…
    2) Dude (OP), you’re seriously an ass.
    c: Can anyone explain this in layman’s terms to the rest of us out here? What Moratorium?

    • I don’t know how long you’ve been frequenting PoPville, but the Prince has made it pretty clear that name-calling will not be tolerated. Don’t be surprised if your Anonymous 2:35 pm post disappears too.

      • Can I say get a life to OP? I am sitting here mouth agape at the fact that this bothers OP enough to call 311 and then his or her council member. I mean wow, just wow.

        • Maybe this qualifies as a “Ward 3 Problem” — in my neighborhood, my 311 requests are about things like dumped mattresses, abandoned sofas, etc.
          So I doubt I’d make the effort to call 311 on someone who did this, but I don’t blame the OP for doing so. I mean, what’s the point of the damn signs if 1) people completely disregard them and 2) there’s no enforcement when people _have_ disregarded them?
          And, like the OP, I’d be thinking, “You mean I too could have disregarded those signs all these years??”

  • The moratorium they’re referring to really does exist. Carol Schwatrz got a law passed long ago prohibiting the city from ticket residents in RPP zones for parking within 25 feet of the intersection. It was originally exempt only at night, but then changed to 24 hours a day.

    • This guy is clearly within 25ft of the intersection.
      This really makes no sense. Usually the problem with DC is that they issue tickets for no good reason, not that they refuse to issue a ticket when there is a reason.

      • I think you misread me. DC is not allowed to give residents tickets for parking within 25 feet. Residents are exempt from the 25 foot within our own zone. Here’s the actual rule, from Title 18 Chapter 24 of the DC Municipal Regulations:
        “2411.21 Vehicles displaying a valid residential parking permit may park at all times, within a designated residential permit parking zone, twenty-five (25) feet or more from the intersection. The Director of the District Department of Transportation shall have the discretion to exempt intersections from the parking restriction moratorium established by this section that the Director determines would be inappropriate and unsafe with such parking.”

        • As written, this says that you have to stay 25 feet or more away from the intersection (“may park at all times…twenty-five (25) feet or MORE from the intersection”). The language would need to read “twenty-five feet or LESS from the intersection” for the no-ticket rule to make any sense.

          • Whoops, I think you’re right. I foud an MPD Circular that agrees with you.
            “Therefore, vehicles that display a RPP, VPP, or TPP and are parked in a RPP zone are permitted to park in the following areas:
            • In loading zones from the hours of 2100 to 0730, except loading zones used by hotels;
            • In entrances from the hours 2100 to 0730, except for hospital entrances; and
            • Twenty-five (25) feet or more from the intersection at all times. [Note: if a “No
            Parking” sign (i.e., a “No Parking Anytime/No Standing Anytime” sign or “P” sign with slash through it) is greater than 25 feet from the intersection, members shall allow one (1) car length on the restricted side of the sign without a ticket, provided the vehicle is displaying a valid RPP, VPP or TPP sticker for that zone and the vehicle does not interfere with any other noted obstacle (e.g., fire hydrant, alley, driveway, bus loading zone, crosswalk)].
            Members should be mindful that The Parking Enhancement Amendment Act of 2006 does not apply to vehicles:
            • Without a valid RPP , VPP , or TPP;
            • Parked within twenty-five feet (25 ft.) of the approach side of any “STOP” or
            “YIELD” sign;
            • Parked within ten feet (10 ft.) of a fire hydrant;
            • Parked within a bus zone;
            • Parked five feet (5 ft.) from an alley or driveway.”

          • +1. It seems like this regulation is poorly written AND is being poorly interpreted.

          • I live on a street that has a no parking sign because the road suddenly/sharply curves. Does that mean that if my car is more than 25 ft away from the corner (which is about 250-300 ft away from the sign) that it’s legal?

        • I think you are confused…reread the quote you just posted
          ” twenty-five (25) feet or more from the intersection”
          25 feet or more. Meaning residents are NOT allowed to park LESS than 25 feet from the intersection, aka “within 25 feet of the intersection.”

          • Yeah, I don’t get this. That car looks to be much less than 25 feet from the intersection, so I don’t see how it qualifies for the exemption.

          • Are we not reading the same thing?
            “2411.21 Vehicles displaying a valid residential parking permit MAY PARK AT ALL TIMES, WITHIN a designated residential permit parking zone, twenty-five (25) feet or more from the intersection.”


            The operative word here is “within”.

          • @Kam – i believe the operative word “within” applies to “within a designated RPP zone.” not “within 25 feet.” The rule says you have to stay at least 25 feet away…except when they say you don’t have to.

          • justinbc

            It’s still a bit interpretive, and really depends on which words you put emphasis on. I could read that to say that you have to be within an area that has residential parking permits, but must be beyond 25 feet of the intersection. Like most laws, it’s written poorly, which means that it leaves room for interpretation, and therefore makes it easier to ticket you. It’s surprising they would pass up a ticket in this case.

          • Kam…WITHIN is referring to “a designated residential parking zone”
            As in, if you have a parking permit, you can park wherever you want within the designated zone AS LONG AS you are MORE THAN 25 feet from the intersection.

            Why is this so hard to understand?

          • Yes, he’s “within” Ward 3, but he isn’t “within” designated residential permit parking zone. That would be marked by the signs. If not I could park my car in the middle of the street in my ward. Not every inch of pavement in the ward is designated ward parking.

          • “I could read that to say that you have to be within an area that has residential parking permits, but must be beyond 25 feet of the intersection.”
            Can you read it any other way? I can’t.

          • justinbc

            @anonymous, based on the dozen or so replies above mine, the answer to your question would appear to glaringly be “yes”.

          • justinbc, I meant you specifically, not the general “you”. The way you wrote your post suggested that you could read it more than one way. All those other folks could only read it one way, which was unfortunately the wrong way.

  • Good for you, OP, for calling about this car. People who park illegally are the rude ones, not those who report it. No parking zones exist for a reason. If it’s a bad reason, call and have DDOT re-evaluate where it puts the sign. But if the sign is there, it deserves a ticket. Do keep this email chain, though, and park there yourself whenever you like (if the rich guy ever moves!) and use it to fight a ticket if you get one.

    • Wow, now just hold on. Aren’t we making a huge leap by saying this person is a “rich guy”?? Sure, it’s a 3 series BMW, but they could’ve bought it used for under $30k which would make it cheaper than the average new car.

      • That’s a 5-series. If you drive a 5-series, you’re rich. At least to me.

      • Made me laugh – just today found out a good deal on a 2009 3 series for 22K…thought I’d never be rich enough to buy a BMW but the magic word is “used.”

      • Don’t even waste your time trying to explain stuff to some of these people. I once quoted a guy who was talking about our former car which was a Jaguar and you would have sworn by the reaction of some of these folks that I drove a brand new Bugatti Veyron and that I was the bad guy for being pissed that some dog jumped on my car.

        • I’m one of those people. Growing up, that would have been at least half of my single mom’s salary. New or used cars with expensive repairs/maintenance costs were out of the picture. And cars were bought with cash to avoid paying high interest fees.

          And OP, good on you for calling it in. Being able to see around an intersection is a good thing.

    • Better thought – who cares if the person is rich or not. Some would say if you can afford to live in DC at all, you’re rich. It’s all subjective. This is superflous classist nonsense that has nothing to do with whether the person deserved a ticket or not.

  • I think I smell a former hall monitor, all grown up and ready to make a citizen’s arrest. Good god…

    • sorry if I care about the rules and my neighborhood

      • justinbc

        I would just ignore the angst ridden posts from these people. You thought someone was egregiously/repeatedly breaking the law and did something about it. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of there.

      • I wish I could get you in my neighborhood to call on these mail carriers that park their delivery vehicles damn near in the intersection. I have called a number of times and nothing has changed. I guess it will take a dead kid or car accident because people can’t see in the intersection beyond their vans to get anything changed.

        • Don’t mess with the USPS. They’re allowed to park on nuns in performance of their duties. One of the few vehicles legally allowed to drive through a fire line (Where we block the street for a fire) if they’re carrying mail.

    • I think it is more like you care that someone is getting away with something that you are sure you couldn’t get away with. You think they are getting one over on you. So it is not so much about the rules but about the fact that they have offended you.

  • Also, it’s cute that the plate is blurred in the photo but then the plate number is listed in the email reply from Council. Why blur it anyway? If you put it on the front and back of your car and leave your car in a public place, it’s not exactly a secret…

  • That makes it sound like there’s a moratorium on no parking tickets…as long as you stay 25 feet from the corner?

    When I lived in Adams Morgan, people parking in my neighborhood (myself included) would do this regularly. If you parked after 10pm and moved it by about 6am, you were usually pretty safe. It got to the point that when I actually got a parking spot in my building for 150/month, i really debated hard, as I was only spending about 60 bucks a month on parking tickets.

    I also have very little sympathy for Zone 3 dwellers. I assume that you’re all rich enough that you can park your BMW wherever you want and pay parking tickets like it was buying a cup of coffee.

    • I’m in Adams Morgan too and regularly see cars in the “no parking” zone at the end of the block with tickets. I’ve gotten a few myself and now avoid those spots. It seems random, however… on some days, no tickets on most days. Moving before 6am is usually a good strategy, but one I’m too lazy to wake up for. More generally, though, it seems dangerous having especially tall/big SUVs blocking the stop signs.

      • Are there many (any?) blocks in AM where the “No Parking” sign is more than 25 feet from the corner?
        I honestly can’t think of any corners in my neighborhood (not AM – Gtown/Dupont) where this moratorium would allow anyone to park beyond the signs.

  • Wow, OP, how have you structured your like to have this kind of time on your hands? I honestly am sort of envious.

    • How have you structured your life NOT to have time like this? Snapping a photo, making a couple calls and shooting off a few emails is not exactly a second job or anything. Do you watch TV? Then you probably waste a lot more time than it took OP to pursue this.

    • The time it took you to read this article and comment on it, you probably could have done the same thing.

  • OP is the one with “No Standing” to challenge the city’s perfectly reasonable actions in this instance?

  • From the picture the car looks to be within 25 ft of the intersection which means the so-called moratorium doesn’t apply in this case.

  • So let me get this straight, if I have residential sticker for the zone, I can pretty much park anywhere I want in that zone outside of handicapped spots? I know that is not exactly what it says but it might as well.

    • The moratorium, which I’ve never heard of, ONLY applies to the distance to the curb. If you park in a marked No Standing Anytime spot, you’ll probably get ticketed or towed. Just try it on 16th St. during rush hour.

  • This seems crazy. If the deal is in fact “Vehicles displaying valid residential parking permits are allowed to park in “No Standing Anytime, No Parking Anytime, 25ft or more from the intersection,” then the signs ought to be amended to say “Zone 3 Permit Holders Excepted” at the bottom, the way the “Two-Hour Parking” signs do.

    • I send in illegal parking using the 311 app while walking home from the Metro. Mostly for in front of hydrants. I would say about half the time the response is there is “no illegal parking observed.” I don’t think the parking enforcement or 311 bothers with half of the inquiries. I’ve followed up on a few if I happen to be heading out again, and the car is often still there.

  • Often a car that’s illegally parked for several days is stolen. The OP did the right thing by reporting it.

    • if you steal a car, why would you draw attention to it by parking illegally?

    • First, the stolens aren’t usually burned. That’s a TV thing. The way to reliably spot a stolen car is to check the doors and steering column. If the column has been tampered with or if there’s a gaping hole where the ignition used to be, its 99% surely stolen. If the car looks abandoned, it has to be sitting for 72 hours and then it will get a notice that it’s considered abandoned and we wait another 72 hours and then it gets towed.

  • I’m so confused by this. Does that mean I can park within 25 feet of any interesection, even one with a stop sign, if I’m in my own zone?

    • One of the regs suggested that you can only park one car length in front of the sign (as long as that is more than 25 feet from the corner).

  • Why is parking prohibited close to an intersection? My guess is that some vehicles can reduce visibility of the intersection, sidewalk, or even obscure a stop-sign. Is it more important that one neighbor has a convenient location to store his/her private property? Or is it more important that everyone who travels through that intersection does so safely? Reporting illegal activity to the proper authorities is a sign of good citizenship and responsibility. It is very disrespectful to imply that someone is a “bad neighbor” for trying to improve the safety of a neighborhood.

  • I have been ticketed for being about 4 inches over a no stopping, standing, parking sign in front of my house (so, clearly in my own zone) in the middle of the night. Literally, all of my car was in the legal spot except for four inches. So, this kind of pisses me off, although I think it’s just bringing back old feelings.

  • I agree with the morotoriam rule. On my street by H st NE, there is a no parking sign in the middle of the block with about 200ft before next intersection. It makes no sense that parking is not allowed behind the sign, so the parking enforcement leave cars alone if you have the zone sticker. Usually everybody on my block has to park there, because of all the non-zone and out of townerrs going to the bars on H st.

    and I agree with the rest of the posters, OP needs to get a life and a hobby. If that was my car, and my licence plate was blasted over the blog, I would make sure to call in every violation at your house (dog with no leash, noise complaints, etc..) that I could find. It doesn’t appear the car is blocking any intersection or view of any turning vehicles.

  • According to this clarification, it is ONLY LEGAL IF the sign is farther than 25 feet from the intersection: *includes helpful map

    • The diagram is ALMOST helpful. I almost get it… SIGH.

    • The diagram sort of helps clear it up…. Though the diagram indicates this does not apply in front of stop signs, and that does not seem to be in the formal language.
      But why not just move the signs in those places where the sign is >25 feet from the corner? The only difference I can figure out between the “moratorium” rules and “moving the sign” rules is that someone without a relevant RPP sticker would be able to park for 2 hours (or overnight) in the new spot created by moving the signs. That seems like a small price to pay for clarity and consistency.

  • This is weird. If it’s legal to park within 25 feet of the “wrong” side of the sign, why not just post the sign 25 feet over?

  • If its not harming anyone, I’d rather a car park illegally so there are more legal spots for me to have a shot at.

    I saw a car parked in Mt.P for over four months before it got towed. It even had a ticket, and a tow sticker on the window. It still sat for was amazing.

  • Smilla

    I’m kind of shocked by the number of people who are castigating the person who reported this car. He or she absolutely did the right thing.

    • justinbc

      I wish I could say I was surprised, but, you know, the Internet.

    • Yeah, just about everything about this post is sending my blood pressure through the roof. I’m going to go get my Afternoon Animal Fix on as a palate cleanser.

  • In case you are at all curious, the no parking sign is new. I asked that it be re-installed after it was removed some time ago. The reason I asked for it to be installed was that the area marked no parking was clearly a no parking area and there were numerous people (Ward 3 and not) parking in that area. DPW should be ticketing that car. The moratorium only applies where a no parking sign is greater than 25 ft from the intersection. This sign is about 15 ft from the intersection. Thus the moratorium does not apply here and the car should be ticketed.

    • If, in fact, the “moratorium” is for cases where a sign is more than 25′ from an intersection, why does the city not just make sure all signs are within 25′ of the intersection? This is obviously confusing everybody, and leads to the mess we have now. Given this is the District of Confusion, however, I’m not surprised.

      • Why don’t they just poop money too while they are at it? Your answer is really to go move a bunch of signs?

  • Well that’s a totally confused and ridiculous response from the city. Typical.

  • This “moratorium” is absolutely ridiculous, as far as I can tell. Basically, it is a secret regulation stating that individuals who have the right sticker and who are “in the know” can ignore certain no parking signs. What kind of a way to run a city is this?

    Erect signs that clearly state the rules, and then enforce the rules. Managing parking in any other way is farcical and absurd, and quite possibly violates the 14th amendment (equal protection).

    • Wow, the 14th Amendment? Are “people not in the know” now a protected class by the U.S. Constitution??

  • $20 to the person who tries this and DOESN’T get a ticket.

  • ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

  • mayor issued plates?

  • oh god…these are my neighbors.

    dont people have anything better to do then call 311, waste their own time and energy about a parked car.

    to OP, get a life! seriously!

    • justinbc

      Don’t you have “something better to do” than to concern yourself with how others spend their time? What the OP did took about 2 minutes of effort, you shouldn’t presume to know the best usages of his/her day.

  • I do not understand why many people here are mad at the owner of the car. It’s a civil infraction and if I choose to park illegally and get a ticket, that is my business really. You should all direct your wrath at the city for not enforcing it, assuming it is even enforceable.

    I doubt there are many folks in DC who think the city is generally bad at writing parking tickets, so let’s not get our panties in a bunch when once or twice they let things slide. It isn’t some elitist conspiracy. Sometimes people get by with things and the world keeps spinning. I certainly hope the OP can sleep better knowing they took the time to complain about something that very likely had absolutely nothing to do with them in any way at all.

    • “I do not understand why many people here are mad at the owner of the car. It’s a civil infraction and if I choose to park illegally and get a ticket, that is my business really.”
      Parking too close to an intersection is dangerous for other road users. It results in reduced sight lines and makes it more difficult to see stop signs, crossing pedestrians, etc. The moment your behavior impacts the safety of your fellow citizen, it stops being your business and becomes everyone else’s — really.

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